Walmart taps Tom Ward to head U.S. e-commerce division as Casey Carl departs

Exterior view of a Walmart store on August 23, 2020 in North Bergen, New Jersey. Walmart saw its profits jump in latest quarter as e-commerce sales surged during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Walmart has tapped Tom Ward to lead its e-commerce division after the departure of Casey Carl, according to a company memo sent Thursday.

The company said Carl will leave at the end of February. It did not share a reason for the departure or Carl’s future plans. The executive shuffle was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Walmart is under pressure to grow online sales and turn the division into a profitable business. The big-box retailer’s online sales have jumped during the pandemic, but it’s looking to find ways to keep that momentum going — such as expanding its third-party marketplace.

Ward will step into the role of chief e-commerce officer on Feb. 1. As senior vice president of last-mile delivery, he has led high-profile and innovative efforts from testing drones and autonomous vehicles to turning dozens of Walmart’s stores into fulfillment hubs for online grocery orders.

Carl, a longtime Target employee, became Walmart’s chief e-commerce officer in 2020. He will leave at the end of February, according to the memo.

Shares of Walmart were trading around $143.41, down less than 1%, on Thursday morning. Its stock performance has lagged behind other retailers. Shares of Walmart fell about 1% over the past 12 months compared with Target, which has seen shares rise about 21% during that time.

Equity research analysts at KeyBanc downgraded Walmart’s stock on Thursday, saying the company’s consumers will be more budget-strapped as inflation drives up the prices of groceries and stimulus checks are no longer adding money to their bank accounts. It said the company, which is the country’s largest private employer, is also under pressure from rising wages.